The festival of lights has a great importance in Hindu mythology and is celebrated with elation. A major festival of Hinduism, it signifies the victory of good over evil. The festival celebrations are extended over five days with all the rituals and their preparations. Before the Diwali, it begins with Dhanteras which marks the beginning of this festival. This also marked the beginning of Tihar festival in Nepal.
Dhanteras is one of the most important festivals in Hindu religion, which is celebrated around autumn. This festival is observed all over India and is also known as Dhanatrayodashi. The meaning of Dhanteras is ‘Dhan’ which means wealth and ‘teras’ means thirteenth day of the moon cycle, which means the festivals falls on the thirteenth day of Karthik Krishna Paksha of Hindu month which is karthik (October- November)
This time it will be celebrated on October 28, 2016. During this day, Goddess Lakshmi (god of wealth) and Yama (god of death) will be worshipped. It is said that the day is auspicious to buy metal like gold and silver on this day which will bring prosperity and fortune for the families and their business ventures.
People celebrate this festival differently in their respective regions. Farmers worship their cattle in rural areas as that are the main source of income. In South too, people show their appreciation for cows as they think that they are the incarnation of goddess Lakshmi. Traditional sweets ‘Naivedya’ which is made up of coriander seeds with jaggery offered by Maharashtra people.
People worship goddess Lakshmi in the evening on this day with devotional songs and light diyas. While performing puja, seven cereals used including wheat, moong dal, urad dal, masoor dal, gram and barley.
There is a particular timing for Lakshmi Puja on Dhanteras :
Puja Mahurat: 5:35 pm – 6:20 pm
Pradosh Kaal: 5:35 pm – 8:21 pm
Trayodashi tithi begins: 4:15 pm on October 27, 2016
Trayodashi tithi ends: 6:20 pm on October 28, 2016
One important thing to note is that, the most auspicious time for puja is when the Lagna or rasi (sign) should remain fixed (sthir).